"Going into the cataclysms the weather will become unpredictable, with torrential rainstorms where not expected, and droughts likewise where not expected. Extremes of temperature will be experienced. Unusually warm winters, where the trees and shrubs will start to bud, thinking spring, and then be subjected to frost. Similarly, frosts will come late in the spring, almost into summer, killing the buds which have already put forth their tender shoots."  ZetaTalk - Crop Failure

This grim forecast from 1995 has become a reality.  In just the past 7 days, the following reports demonstrate the accuracy of yet another Zeta prediction heralding the return of Planet X.

April 19
Early Budding, Then Cold Snap, Takes Toll on Iowa Vineyards

Richard Black, of Farnhamville, shows the dead grape shoots that followed last week’s three nights of freezing temperatures. Black said the damage is “severe” and estimates at least 75 percent of his crop was ruined.

April 18
Hailstorms Annihilate California Fruit Crops

"I estimate the damage at anywhere from 80 percent to 100 percent in fields and orchards where the hail struck. The fruit and nut trees were stripped bare. The trees look like they are in midwinter and haven't even budded yet."

April 18

Wisconsin Cherry Growers Expect 50 Percent Loss From Frost Damage

"I've been doing this pretty much all my life. It's been here 130 years in the family, so I'm the fourth generation, so it's our livelihood," he says.  Robertson says he's been worrying about his trees, which he expects will produce about half the cherries they normally do this year. 

April 16
Cold Causes Devastating Loss for Michigan Grape Crop

Southwestern Michigan grape growers are reeling from last week’s freezing temperatures that seem to have wiped out the majority of this season’s grape crop.  “This is the worst situation we’ve had. ... This is devastating for southwest Michigan growers,"

April 14
Minnesota Apple Crop Crippled by Early Warmth Then Freeze

"It's essentially almost a total crop loss this year," said apple farmer Mike Perbix. Perbix owns Sweetland Orchard in Webster. He says he has lost more than 90 percent of his apple crop.

April 13
Huge Crop Losses in Portugal Due to Frost and Drought

Recent early morning frosts and the ongoing drought, have led to an almost total loss of production in a number of fruit and vegetable farms across the Algarve.

April 12
Frosts Damages Up to 90 Percent of Indiana Blueberry Crops

The overnight lows left some blueberry farms with plenty of damage during a season that had been expected to be the best in years. Some farms saw up to 90 percent damage to their crops.

Freeze Causes Widespread Damage to North Carolina Fruit

Cold temperatures Wednesday night caused widespread damage to fruit crops across Henderson County.  Apple trees bloomed two weeks early as a result of the mild winter, and that left them vulnerable to cold temperatures.



April 19
Early Budding, Then Cold Snap, Takes Toll on Iowa Vineyards

FARNHAMVILLE - Richard Black said he knew the killing frost was possible, even to be expected, but some part of him was hoping it wouldn't happen.  But it did.

Last week, with the first primary grape buds out and a month ahead of schedule, temperatures dipped at official measuring sites to 29 degrees and to 24 degrees on Tuesday. Twenty-eight degrees for four hours is considered a hard frost in farming terms.

But according to Black, his thermometer read 17 degrees overnight on Monday, 16 degrees overnight Tuesday and and in the 20s overnight Wednesday. That was enough, he said, to cause significant yield losses to his grapes, especially his early budding varieties.

"It was bad," Black said, who manages 1,600 grape vines in a 3-acre site around his rural Farnhamville home. "It was devastating."

When told that Mike White, Iowa State University's viticulturist, estimated the statewide grape yield loss at 50 percent, Black said, "That would be good news. But Mike is looking at the entire state."

According to White, vineyards north of I-80 were frost-bit more severely than those in southern Iowa counties.

Some growers attempted to keep heat among their vines, or continually spray water on their vines, and some tried spraying liquid potassium, which acts like an antifreeze to protect the buds during the freezing period, White said.

Black didn't try any of those measures.

"There's not a whole lot you can do," Black said. "Most efforts are not effective.

"The most you can do is give the vulnerable buds a 3- to 5-degree protection."

Once the temperature slips to below 25 degrees, all bets are off.

"And it's not like flowers; you can't just throw a blanket over them," Black said. "And we're not the only ones; the same happened to orchards too."

He said the primary buds of Marquette varieties were out to 3 inches long on Sunday. They looked green and lush. Some of the secondary buds were out, as well.

White and Black both said frost damage varies by cultivar and location. Early budbreak varieties, including Marquette, and low-lying areas normally receive the worst damage.

Black said before the frost, "It would be easy for someone to get overly optimistic. You look at the (vines) and think here's a chance to do a really good job by the book all season long.

"And well, here we are ..."

Black fully expects to see a 75 percent yield loss on his grapes.

"But we'll be able to tell better in about two weeks," he said.

He hires three workers throughout the growing season to tend his vineyard. Are they out of work now?

Not at all, Black said. Half of all the work on vine husbandry is for the current crop and half is for the next year's crop.

"The crop is gone," he said, "but we still have to do everything as if it's otherwise, only there's no income coming in."

Crop insurance on grapes? Forget about it, Black said.

"There is insurance, but you can't afford it," he said. The reason is that, unlike corn and soybeans, the sheer numbers of growers are not sufficient to share the risk, so insurance rates are high on grapes.

According to White, there are only 300 Iowa vineyards, cultivating grapes on 1,200 acres statewide.

"This frost did not kill any vines," White said. "It only set us back. The industry will continue to grow."

Disappointed about the frost damage and the lost yields, Black said he tries not to get too down. "I'm not the only one this happened to."

Ajay Nair, an ISU Extension vegetable specialist, said he noticed damage to fruit blossoms at the Horticulture Research Station near Gilbert after the April 10 frost and temperatures were even colder April 11.

Paul Domoto, an ISU Extension fruit specialist, said the temperature dipped to 20 degrees at the horticultural station, a temperature that damages plants, but especially those near the ground, like strawberries. Strawberries are most vulnerable at bloom, however, only the earliest cultivars have reached this stage of development.

The problem with the fruit crops is that the early spring weather sped up blooming, which is a particularly sensitive stage for the plants. Domoto said although there has been damage it's too early to say how bad the freezes were until growers can assess the conditions in their areas, because site conditions and stage of bud and/or shoot development will have a significant influence on the extent of injury.

Nick Howell, superintendent of the Horticultural Research Station, doesn't expect much of an apple crop because of the freezes. He confirmed there was "significant damage" to the station's vineyard and strawberries. Apple trees typically are "in jeopardy" until the middle of May, he said.

Unfortunately, Howell said the expense of pest management in the apple orchard must be maintained even though there are few, if any, apples produced.

April 18
Hailstorms Annihilate California Fruit Crops

A series of freak April storms hammered the San Joaquin Valley last week, damaging vulnerable crops with a one-two-three punch of hail, lightning and tornados that caused millions of dollars of crop losses.

It will be several weeks before an accurate tabulation of losses can be made, but for some growers it amounted to 100 percent of this year's production. A number of crops suffered damage from the unrelenting power of hailstones measuring 1.5 inches in diameter or larger.

Nature's fury came in the form of "supercells"—large thunderstorms that moved slowly across the valley from Kings County, through parts of Tulare County, up to Merced County and all the way eastward to Mariposa County.

The most destructive storm brought torrents of hail across a six-to-eight mile-wide swath of farmland that extended some 30 miles, accompanied by thunderstorms and numerous lightning strikes.

The epicenter of the more significant of two supercells last Wednesday was in Tulare County near Traver. Grower Ed Needham, who was caught driving near Traver when the storm struck, described it as "the sound of someone hitting my truck with a hammer."

Needham said he was in his truck with two other farmers and had pulled over to watch a huge storm cell to the south when the other cell struck from the north.

"It started out small and was no big deal and then all of a sudden the side-view mirrors on my truck shattered and the road started getting covered with huge hailstones. I looked at the wind and saw that it was going south, so I took off and went to the south and got out of it," he said.

Steve Johnson, a storm chaser with Atmospheric Group International, tracked the storms closely and estimated that the damage to agriculture could reach $25 million or more just from the two supercells that hit last Wednesday afternoon.

"While other thunderstorms were moving at about 25 miles per hour, these two slugs were moving at about 7 or 8 miles an hour, so they just trudged along producing very large hail and a high quantity of lightning," he said. "I estimate the damage at anywhere from 80 percent to 100 percent in fields and orchards where the hail struck. The fruit and nut trees were stripped bare. The trees look like they are in midwinter and haven't even budded yet."

Johnson also reported that a third supercell formed over farmland west of Lemoore, producing a tornado, and another one popped up near Huron, causing considerable crop damage to Westside lettuce and tomato fields.

The following day, a supercell formed in Merced County near Dos Palos and moved northeast between Atwater and Merced, once again accompanied by huge hailstones.

"The hailstones were larger than those on the previous day. There was 1 3/4-inch hail that was recorded near Castle Air Force Base, causing a lot of crop damage as well as other damage before moving up into Mariposa County," Johnson said.

John Diepersloot, one of the owners of Kingsburg Orchards, which grows peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots, said the storms wiped out some orchards while leaving adjacent ones unscathed. He said several of his orchards were struck and that while the visible damage is obvious, it will be several days before any accurate assessment can be made.

"Where the hail hit, it is a complete, 100 percent loss. It was hitting in cells, so one area was a complete disaster and another area got missed," he said. "Some of the fields look like they got beat up pretty bad. Most of the apricots, cherries, pluots and plums got scratched up pretty bad or even knocked off the trees."

Diepersloot also noted damage to other crops, particularly grapes and newly transplanted processing tomatoes.

"The tomatoes on certain blocks were stripped down. The transplants had leaves ripped off. The grapes had everything from tender, new shoots to the bark itself torn off. A lot of guys are planting their corn, but it isn't up yet, so that is still in the ground," he said.

John Thiesen, general manager of Giumarra Brothers Fruit Co. of Reedley, said he is still trying to assess the losses, and that enough fruit to fill from 5 million to 12 million boxes may have been lost.

"That is a pretty big span, so no one really knows for sure. But we do know there is very significant damage," he said.

Thiesen said the magnitude of last week's hailstorms was stunning.

"One doesn't see this kind of devastation very often. I know for us here, we were fortunate to escape, but the emotions are such that we feel just awful for all our grower friends who were affected. It is heartbreaking," he said.

Michael Miya, who farms walnuts, pistachios and field crops such as wheat, corn and onions for seed north of Hanford, said this was the worst hailstorm he has ever witnessed.

"We inspected the damage to our walnuts and it chopped a lot of the young leaflets. It covered the ground in green where the hail went through. We are concerned with the nuts that are already set on the trees," he said. "Some of my neighbors with almonds say they lost about a third of their crop, some less and some more, depending on where they were located. One of my neighbors with cherries said he has probably lost 80 percent of his crop."

Johnson, a severe-weather specialist who provides private weather forecasting for farming operations, utility companies and irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley, said it has been at least 20 years since something this severe struck the region.

"I feel really bad for the farmers who have been annihilated, because they work very hard," he said.

April 18
Wisconsin Cherry Growers Expect 50 Percent Loss From Frost Damage

For many, Door County cherries are a Northeast Wisconsin tradition.

But for Kris Robertson, the owner of Robertson Orchards, they're so much more than just that.

"I've been doing this pretty much all my life. It's been here 130 years in the family, so I'm the fourth generation, so it's our livelihood," he says.

Robertson says he's been worrying about his trees, which he expects will produce about half the cherries they normally do this year.

That's because our unusually warm March caused the buds to start developing about a month early. And now with the chilly weather and overnight freezes, some are already damaged.

"Oh yeah, there's a lot of blossoms I open up. The pistils are black, which shows that they should be dead so they're not going to bloom," says Robertson.

UW-Madison agricultural researcher Matt Stasiak says this a common problem for Door County cherry growers this season.

He conducted a sample study a few weeks ago.

"We looked at, as we do every winter, a number of buds and we were seeing a fair amount of damage, the average was about 70- to 75 percent of flower buds were damaged," says Stasiak.

Stasiak says we won't see the full impact of this inclement weather until harvest in June.

In the meantime, cherry growers like Kris Robertson will be getting a lot less sleep.

"Oh, it keeps you up at night worrying, but there's nothing you can do. You just have to hope that the weather changes and you get some crop out of it," says Robertson.

April 16
Cold Strangles Southwest Michigan Grape Crop - Loss Called 'Devasta...

It’s not sour grapes, it’s fact: Southwestern Michigan grape growers are reeling from last week’s freezing temperatures that seem to have wiped out the majority of this season’s grape crop.

Although fruit growers in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties are still assessing the damage, it appears that virtually the entire grape crop grown for Welch's Foods in southwest Michigan has been lost.

Unusually high temperatures at an unusually early time made the plants bud early, making them susceptible to temperatures that dipped into the 20s.

John Jasper, area manager with the National Grape Cooperative Association, which owns Welch's, oversees 250 farmers and 12,000 acres. Of those farmers, he said, more than 90 percent of their primary buds died.

There’s a “glimmer of hope” for some secondary growth to push out a little later but as Jasper pointed out, for most farmers that’s not going to pay the bills or perhaps even make it economical to harvest the few grapes that are left.

“This is the worst situation we’ve had. ... This is devastating for southwest Michigan growers," he said.

According to Jasper, Welch's gets about 17 percent of its grapes from the area, perhaps prompting the company to change recipes for some of its products.

At Bixby Orchards in Berrien Springs, Patricia Bixby said the damage was similar to a 1997 hailstorm that also wiped out the farm’s grape crop. Cherries, she said, “don’t look too bad,’’ adding strawberries will be OK thanks to irrigation that insulated them against the 29-degree cold.

As for apples, she said, she and her husband Paul might lose 75 percent of their crop.

'You just go on,' she said.

The news was better at the Lemon Creek Winery where Jeff Lemon, a business partner and wine maker, said 140 acres of wine grapes offer enough varieties, and in such a wide range of development, that all won’t be lost.

“Some of the buds were still pretty tight. Those came through a little better,’’ he said.

The farm also features peaches, apples and cherries, with apples taking the biggest hit of the three, he said.

At Round Barn Winery in Baroda, wine maker Matt Moersch said he expects some of the younger varieties of grapes will have a 40 to 60 percent loss but older varieties may lose just 10 percent. Retails prices for the winery’s wines shouldn’t be affected this year but could go up in 2013, although not dramatically, he said.

At the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, Herb Teichman said the few grapes he grows for personal use are “in good shape’’ but some varieties of apple trees didn’t fare as well.

“With some (apples), there was very little (damage) but some others were quite serious,’’ he said.

Tart cherries also had some damage but Teichman said he’ll still have a crop to harvest.

“It’s a reduction but not a wipeout by any means,’’ he said.

Federal government relief could be forthcoming for some grape growers, most likely in the form of low-interest loans. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, is on record stating grape growers deserve relief.

The apple crop at Kercher's Sunrise Orchards in Goshen was also heavily damaged, the owner said Sunday.

April 14
Minnesota Apple Crop Crippled by Early Warmth Then Freeze

"It's essentially almost a total crop loss this year," said apple farmer Mike Perbix. Perbix owns Sweetland Orchard in Webster. He says he has lost more than 90 percent of his apple crop.

The reason is two-fold.

The warm weather we saw recently back caused many of his apple flowers to bloom. But then this week's freeze left them uncovered and unprotected. "You open it up and all you see is black right in there. And you can tell that's not going to produce anything viable," said Perbix when he opened up a flower bud.

That brings us to the consumer side of this story.

What does it mean for those who like to eat an apple a day? The short answer: it is still too early to tell.

"Our producers, they're really just beginning to understand what happened to them," said Gary Johnson with Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville.

There are two ways consumers may be affected if this wacky weather continues.

First, experts believe there is a good chance the local selection will not be as good. "So what they might find is more apples are coming from out state. You may see more apples come in from Washington for example," he said.

The second way this year's apple crop may bite consumers is at the checkout counter. Prices may go up. However, at Valley Natural Foods, their apple producer has not seen a problem with its crop yet. "They're going to provide apples to their whole sale partners at last year's prices," said Johnson.

David Bedford is a researcher and apple breeder with the University of Minnesota. He says he has never seen the apple crop start so early in his 32 years of breeding. "It's very unusual," he said. "But we're not in disaster mode yet."

He says most crops only need about 15 percent of the flowers to produce a healthy amount of apples. Typically, apple flowers come out of dormancy around May 15; this year it is at least a month early.

"We should know more in three weeks," he said of the extent of the apple crop damage.

Back at the orchard in Webster, Perbix knows where he stands. His apple money is all but gone for this year, thankful his wife is not in the family business. "The best insurance policy is that my wife works off the farm," he said.

April 13
Huge Crop Losses in Portugal Due to Frost and Drought

Recent early morning frosts and the ongoing drought, have led to an almost total loss of production in a number of fruit and vegetable farms across the Algarve.

The Association of Farmers of Faro and Surrounding Councils, which represents the majority of fruit and vegetable producers in the region, has said it is unhappy with government measures announced on Monday, adding that some of its members are on the verge of bankruptcy and despair.

The drought impact is confirmed by an official report dated March 13th, which states a 50% loss of greenhouse vegetables in the Algarve - especially in Faro and Olhão.

The report highlights the losses caused by frosts in the greenhouses to tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans and melon. in addition it says that open air crops such as broad beans, peas and potatoes have been affected. In relation to citrus fruit, the report says that the fall in production is "significant."

"I have lost 80 percent of my tomato plantation, which corresponds to a total loss because no one is going to water and pick the remaining 20 percent," said 44- year-old Paulo Cristina, who has six hectares of greenhouses on the outskirts of Faro.

With 120 tonnes of tomatoes lost, and with the selling price of tomatoes at 45 cents per kilogram, he calculates that he has lost €54,000, corresponding to half a year’s work.

Mr. Cristina awaits EU funds that have been promised by the Ministry of Agriculture, but says he is angry about the lack of available insurance to cover such events.

Similarly, the President of the Regional Agricultural Association, Ana Lopes, laments that insurance companies don’t provide policies adapted to each region, as "each area of the country is unique and has its own agriculture."

April 12
Frosts Damages Up to 90 Percent of Indiana Blueberry Crops

The overnight lows left some blueberry farms with plenty of damage during a season that had been expected to be the best in years. Some farms saw up to 90 percent damage to their crops.

Local farmers said the combination of warm winter months with the recent frosts was too much for certain varieties of blueberry bushes to handle.

“The real situation was a month ago when we had that beautiful weather, when everyone was just so happy,” Pick-N-Patch owner Sam Erwin said. “I’m going this is horrible weather. It brought all the fruit out early. “

The more advanced the blueberries are, the more that is at stake when a freeze warning goes into effect.

“Some of the earlier varieties were hurt a lot more,” Erwin said. “We have some that were almost 100 percent lost.”

April 12
Freezing Temps Causes Widespread Damage to Fruit Crops in North Car...

Cold temperatures Wednesday night caused widespread damage to fruit crops across Henderson County, according to Marvin Owings, county extension director.

"And we still have tonight," Owings said Thursday, referring to a freeze watch in effect through today's predawn hours. It will be a few days before growers can assess the extent of the damage to their crops, he added. "It is almost impossible to determine how bad it is the day after a freeze," Owings said.

Temperatures Wednesday night and Thursday morning fell to between 25 and 28 degrees in some areas. Temperatures 28 degrees and below can impair the fruits' growth cycle, Owings said.

Apple trees bloomed two weeks early as a result of the mild winter, and that left them vulnerable to cold temperatures.

"They are in full bloom, and that is the most critical stage of development," Owings said.

Farmers will check today to see whether Thursday night's temperatures caused more damage. The National Weather Service was forecasting a low around 32 degrees.

Henderson County grower Kenny Barnwell said Thursday that frost had ravaged his 10 acres of peach trees in Edneyville. "They were hurt pretty bad," Barnwell said. "I saw a lot of dead peaches."

His apple crop also was affected.

"A couple varieties (of apples) were severely damaged," Barnwell said.

Peach and strawberry growers in Upstate South Carolina reported that their crops had not been affected by the cool overnight temperatures, and some farms in Henderson County were spared.

"So far (the peach crops) are OK because the peaches' blooms have come and gone on most varieties," Danny McConnell said.

On Thursday, McConnell said it was too soon to tell whether the cold had impacted his apple trees in Dana, but he expected them to be fine.

It takes about 24 hours after a cold night to notice any damage to the apple blossoms, McConnell said.

Local strawberry growers said they were taking precautions to protect the soft fruits.

J.D. Obermiller had a long night Wednesday as temperatures dipped into the upper 20s at his strawberry farm in Horse Shoe.

He started the irrigation system at 2 a.m. to protect his crop, and by 10 a.m. Thursday, the last bit of ice melted off the strawberries.

"The berries look good," Obermiller said. "The blooms look bright and shiny."

McConnell kept his strawberries covered with plastic to protect them from freezing temperatures, but he planned to uncover them today because warmer weather is in the forecast.

High temperatures are expected to be in the 70s and low 80s this weekend, with lows between 40 and 55 degrees.

As he waited out the freeze threat on Thursday, Obermiller was hoping for minimal frost exposure, but he was prepared. "If need be," Obermiller said, "we'll sprinkle them again."

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Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on June 21, 2017 at 8:35pm


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Natural-disaster declared in parts of South Dakota as severe drought and late frost destroy nearly $ 20 million in crops and counting

The Hughes County Commission declared a natural-disaster drought emergency on Monday at their regular meeting, hoping it will unleash some federal and state funds to help farmers who have already lost wheat, hay and pasture-grass crops.
The county's farmers have reported $16.85 million worth of crop losses, with 90.7 percent of those losses coming from the winter-wheat crop alone, which was planted last fall, according to assessments given to the five-man commission by Brian Stewart.
Stewart is the director of the Farm Service Agency - the federal office that runs the farm program - in Hughes and Stanley Counties.
The remaining 9.32 percent of the estimated losses come from spring wheat, alfalfa and pasture-grass crops, according to figures Stewart gave the commission on Monday.
In his "loss assessment reports," which he will turn in with the commission's emergency declaration, Stewart said that 300 farmers in the county were hit hard by the hot, dry conditions, including receiving only 61 percent of normal precipitation from Jan. 1 to June 1.
"We know there are a lot of losses to winter wheat," Stewart told the commission. "Alfalfa got hurt bad and it's not all because of drought.
We also had frost in the last week of May.
That hurt, too. But the drought has really . . . exacerbated it out there."
Even with the good that last week's rains can do, "A lot of the crops were hurt bad enough where there won't be any helping them," Stewart said.
"And we don't have all the acreage reports in yet."
Stewart was preaching to the choir.
"From what I have seen out in the county, . . in areas down by "the pocket," (in the southeast corner of the county) . . . you can count every rock out in the pasture," said Commission Chairman Norm Weaver.
"That's the eastern side of Hughes County.
Then you go north there, and I don't remember seeing winter wheat where you were able to row it, almost at the Fourth of July," he said, referring to the sickly growth of the wheat not filling in even its narrow rows.
"It's tough out there," Weaver said.
The drought disaster declaration cites "inadequate winter snowfall, inadequate spring rainfall, desolating winds and late frost conditions," which led the commissioners to unanimously declare "that said drought conditions constitute a natural disaster of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of this county, and even the state of South Dakota, and that federal assistance is necessary. . .
" That's what the commission is hoping to do with their "whereases" and resolutions.
Their declaration can help "open up emergency loans," through U.S. Department of Agriculture's programs, especially ones aimed at helping ranchers who are short of grass and hay, Stewart said. "And in the bigger picture, once you (pass this resolution), I will forward it on to the Secretary (of Agriculture Sonny Perdue).
" That could lead to a disaster declaration for the state, Stewart said.
"What that can bring, I can't tell you for sure, because Congress with a stroke of the pen can change things . . . (but) there may be some disaster money out there," Stewart's assessment reports said that county farmers lost 3.32 million bushels of winter-wheat yield on 56,311 acres in the county, caused by the hot, dry conditions since March 1 and lasting season-long, as well as a late frost at the end of May.
The lost winter-wheat bushels were valued by Stewart at $4.60 per bushel, which means a $15.28 million loss in winter-wheat income to farmers in the county.
The spring-wheat crop hasn't done too well, either, Stewart said.
He got information from farmers on 4,642 acres that showed a projected loss of 176,396 bushels valued at $5 per bushel, for a total financial loss of $881,980.
The alfalfa on 3,712 acres in the county was hit first by a late, damaging frost from May 20-22, that did an estimated $211,584 of hurt - knocking off 2,227 tons of hay valued at $95 a ton, according to Stewart.
The same acres then were hit by drought starting March 1 that will have effects all season, knocking out another 4,083 tons of alfalfa hay, for a projected financial hit of $387,904.
Alfalfa producers typically cut two to four crops of hay per season.
Ranchers in the county also reported losses in value of $89,318 on 105,500 acres of pasture, according to Stewart.
Comment by KM on May 4, 2017 at 2:28am


2017 Mid-South Rice: Floods sink crop

Approximately 100,000 planted acres of Arkansas rice have been lost to flooding, says Dr. Jarrod Hardke, the state's rice Extension agronomist. Powerful storms moved through Arkansas last weekend. The high winds and heavy rain were blamed for seven deaths and Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency. 

Some of the higher 24-hour rainfall totals reported by the National Weather Service included 10.59 inches at Rogers, 10.12 at Elm Springs, 9.1 inches at Farmington, and 8.5 inches at Savoy, 7.85 inches at Guy and 7.82 inches at Georgetown. 

"There is major flooding along Current and Little Black rivers in western Clay County and thousands of acres of rice and corn will be impacted," said Stewart Runsick, Extension staff chair for Clay County at Corning, Ark. "I am sure replanting will be necessary in many fields. We had the best stand of corn that I had seen in many years." 

In several counties, the rain and flooding eroded or destroyed levees, washing out rice fields. 

100,000 acres lost 

Approximately 100,000 planted acres of Arkansas rice have been lost to flooding, says Dr. Jarrod Hardke, the state's rice Extension agronomist. 

In his May 2 Arkansas Rice Update he says "the damage and losses will only increase beyond my estimate, not get lower." 

Arkansas farmers were off to an early, good start before the flooding, with nearly 90 percent of the crop planted.How long will submerged rice live? Hardke writes the answer is difficult because many factors are involved, including growth state, air and water temperatures, water depth and clarity. 

"As a general rule, the breaking point for young, submerged rice is about 10 days... If the water is not off in seven days, you need to start actively working to get water off someway, somehow if possible," he writes. 

Mother Nature had other plans 

Jeff Rutledge's Jackson County, Ark., rice farm is located where the surging Black and White rivers merge. In the May 2 USA Rice Daily he says, "As of now, the only way we can get to our farm shop is by boat. We are headed up in a plane later today to determine the scope of damage." 

"The excessive rainfall hit us hard and then the lack of drainage due to flooding rivers only compounds the problem," said Jennifer James, another rice farmer in Jackson County, Ark. 

"We were off to a really good start on this crop year and Mother Nature had other plans. In the end, it will likely be weeks before the extent of the damage and losses can accurately be determined." 

"At the moment, the best the rice industry can hope for is quickly receding waters, but the rain hasn't even stopped yet," said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs. "Private crop insurance assistance, in the form of replanting or preventative planting coverage can't begin to be calculated until June 10 — the last day of potential planting." 

County updates 

From the May 1 USDA Arkansas Crop Progress and Condition Report

"There was a small window that allowed for corn and rice planting to near completion this week. The early planted corn received sidedress nitrogen and sulfur. Producers are watching the Arkansas and Fourche rivers as they near flood stage, and more rain is forecasted. Livestock and farm machinery have been moved out of bottoms to higher ground." — Kevin Lawson, Perry County, Ark. 

"Hail damaged corn and soybeans earlier in the week. Now we are dealing with countywide flooding." - Branon Thiesse, Craighead County, Ark. 

"Fieldwork was limited to three days this week due to heavy rainfall. Corn and rice received herbicide applications for weed control. Some corn layby nitrogen was applied. Crops are beginning to show water stress in low areas." - Brent Griffin, Prairie County, Ark. 

"Greene County received 6 to 10 inches of rain in the last week. This halted planting and slowed emergence. Some fields will need spot planting or replanting. Cache and St. Francis rivers are rising and covering adjacent fields. We need a few days without rain, but more is forecasted." - Dave Freeze, Greene County, Ark. 

"Rain from 3 to 8 inches resulted in significant flooding of low lying areas, with many planted fields under several inches of standing water." - Richard Klerk, Woodruff County, Ark. 

Comment by lonne rey on May 2, 2017 at 2:41pm

We Lost the Western Kansas Wheat Crop This Weekend


Blizzard conditions and heavy snow swept western Kansas, including 14 to 20 inches in Colby in the northwestern quadrant of the No. 1 winter wheat state in the nation

The snow and freezing weather struck a winter wheat crop that was developing faster than usual, thanks to a mild winter.

Spring blizzard buries hopes of many western Kansas wheat farmers


The freak late-spring blizzard over the weekend could prove disastrous for farmers in far western Kansas.

Gary Millershaski, who farms in Kearny County west of Garden City said his cattle were blasted by the wind and snow. He had about 40 calves and has lost at least 10, he said.

Comment by KM on April 28, 2017 at 1:59am


Canada Snow Leaves 2 Million Crop Acres Stuck on Prairie Fields

Unharvested acres must come off field before spring planting.

April snowfall in parts of Canada’s prairies has halted efforts to harvest more than 2 million acres (809,370 hectares) of grain leftover from 2016, delaying spring planting in some areas by at least two weeks.

In Alberta alone, there’s as many as 1.5 million acres that remain unharvested, and gathering has been hampered by light snow falling daily in central and northern areas, according to James Wright, a risk analyst with the province’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Snow and cool weather have also slowed progress in Saskatchewan, where more than 1 million metric tons of grain is still sitting on fields from last year’s harvest after excess moisture made fields too wet to combine, according to the province’s agriculture ministry.

“If you have to harvest, plus you have to seed, it’s going to be a real time crunch,” Errol Anderson, the president of ProMarket Wire in Calgary, said by phone. “These delays are a minimum two weeks, but it’s almost throwing the province back the better part of a month.”

Canada is the world’s largest grower of canola and a major exporter of wheat, including spring varieties. The nation’s farmers usually start to sow their crops from the end of April through the beginning of May, depending on the weather.

Farmers may change their seeding intentions if delays persist. The planting concerns have also pushed up the price of canola, Anderson said.

Canola futures traded in Winnipeg touched C$525.80 ($386.53) a ton on Tuesday, the highest in six weeks.

Snow still has to melt in parts of Saskatchewan, and there is a lot of moisture and ruts on the fields, which could also delay harvesting of the grains, oilseeds and pulses left from last year, said Shannon Friesen, acting cropping management specialist for Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry.

“We just keep getting hammered with these snowstorms,” Friesen said by phone from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. “It’s not the most ideal conditions for this time of year.”

Comment by KM on April 28, 2017 at 1:54am


Italy: Bad weather causes damage to crops in the south

A producer from Puglia reports that "the cold front that, all of a sudden hit the Canosa and Cerignola areas, damaged apricots and peaches, which were also affected by the hailstorms, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes."

"The consequences are not immediately recognisable, as a few days must pass. The growth of grafted peach trees has stopped due to the low temperatures and vines show signs of burning."

Stone fruit production has halved all over Italy and the producer reports good market price prospects. "We need to be careful, though, as it all depends on how things will evolve over the next few days. There is a lot of damage and, if the weather goes as forecast, we only have to hope that there will be no hailstorms."

The new peach orchards are all equipped with anti-hail nets. "Hailstorms are becoming more and more frequent and we cannot afford to lose quantity nor quality."

Bigarreau cherries.

The situation in Bari is instead ideal. "Luckily, the cold front did not affect us and cherry orchards were not compromised. Ripening is only slightly delayed due to the colder temperatures."

In Campania, orchards have been heavily damaged (Annurca apples and stone fruit) but it's still to early to make an estimate. "The situation is serious and must be monitored, but we will only know for sure in a few days' time."

The cold front caused a lot of damage in Caserta and Naples as well, where vegetable, potato and tomato crops have been compromised. 

Additional rain, storms and even snow are expected all over Italy starting from April 26th, brought around by an arctic front from central-western Europe. 
Comment by Howard on March 29, 2017 at 2:30am

Record Crop Damage from Hail Continues to Escalate in Canada (Mar 28)

The Canadian Prairies suffered a record number of hail events in 2016, which means hail insurance claims are also at record levels, with more than $528.6 million paid out to western Canadian farmers.

Manitoba has set records for hail insurance claims two years running. The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) received 3,747 payable hail claims in 2016 and has paid out $43.6 million. That topped the record 2,783 claims in 2015 that cost $31.1 million in payouts.

Alberta Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) paid out a total of just over $361 million for 6,022 claims for hail damage in 2016 under its straight hail and hail endorsement programs.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan insurers had paid out in excess of $124 million for over 11,001 claims by October 2016, which is also up significantly from 2015.




Comment by Howard on March 24, 2017 at 3:37am

Freezing Temperatures in Southern US Devastate Fruit Crops (Mar 23)

Last week's deep freeze in the Southeast appears to have nearly wiped out Georgia's blueberries and South Carolina's peaches. In South Carolina, 85 percent of the state's peach crop is gone while the small pink blooms remain on the trees, according to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

About 85 percent of the Edgefield County peach crop was wiped out by three straight nights of below-freezing temperatures last week, according to Sonny Yonce of Big Smile Peaches in Johnston.

Blueberries grown in the Midland and Upstate area of South Carolina also were hit hard, with losses expected to be about the same as peaches.

“It’s not looking good right now,” said Bob Hall of Bush N Vine Farm in York. There may be later-season varieties available in August, but he expects they’ll lose about 90 percent of their crop.

The first day of Spring is nothing to smile about at one Gaston County farm near Charlotte North Carolina. Ethan Lineberger and his workers surveyed the damage after last week’s freeze.

“It’s hard to get yourself in a good mental frame of mind when you take a loss this big this early in the season,” Lineberger said.

Lineberger said he lost half of his strawberries and his entire peach crop.

“We took a loss that’s bigger than the total amount I get paid in a year,” he said.

It’s pretty much the same story in Fort Mill. Springs Farm lost 80 percent of its peach crop.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into all this. To get it all take away in three nights is kind of depressing, but on the other hand you got to figure out what are we going to do to make up for this loss? What’s another crop we can raise,” they explained.

The destruction occurred Thursday night, when temperatures bottomed out in the 20s, breaking records:






Comment by KM on October 30, 2016 at 1:44pm


Record snowfall freezes northeastern B.C. grain harvest

Rick Kantz, president of the B.C. Grain Producers, says he hasn't seen so much harvest go to waste in decades

Rick Kantz of the B.C. Grain Producers Association says snow has forced farmers across the Peace region in northeastern B.C to leave anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent of their crop in the fields.

Rick Kantz of the B.C. Grain Producers Association says snow has forced farmers across the Peace region in northeastern B.C to leave anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent of their crop in the fields.

A record snowfall is forcing grain farmers in northeastern B.C. to halt their harvest.

On Oct. 1, Fort St. John received 23 centimetres of snow,  The old record for the day was six centimetres set in 1954.

"This is probably the most severe one-off weather condition that I can remember in the last 40 years," said Rick Kantz, president of the B.C. Grain Producers Association.

Kantz said harvest had already been difficult this year.

"[The fields] were extremely wet before the snows came … so instead of travelling across the surface, you're sinking in."

He said it's been raining and snowing since then, and the weather has forced grain farmers to leave anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent of their crops in the field.

"You're down 20 per cent of your income … you might have enough to cover expenses but it doesn't leave much for wages to carry on," he explained.

Potential price hike for consumers

Similar weather conditions have frustrated grain farmers across the prairies.

In Saskatchewan, the harvest is well behind schedule with much of the grain-belt pelted with double the rain it usually receives.

In southern Alberta, farmers are waiting for warmer Chinook winds to dry their crops so they can harvest, with one expert saying nearly a third of the province's crops need to be harvested.

Kantz said the low harvest this year could mean prices on goods from cereal to livestock feed could rise.

"There are some small increases happening already because this is happening already, right across Canada," he said.

B.C.'s Peace Region accounts for about 80 per cent of the province's field crop production, and its main crops are wheat, barley and canola.

Comment by KM on October 19, 2016 at 12:24pm


‘It’s disheartening’: Quantity, quality of crops in question as early snowfall blankets Alta. farms

 A second early snowfall has nearly destroyed any hope of bringing in a bountiful harvest for farmers across Alberta. As Julia Wong reports, it could spell devastation ahead.

Farmers who had been hoping for warmer weather got a huge disappointment last Friday as 10 cm of snow covered the area in and around the Capital Region.

Deryk Sanford is a third-generation farmer in Lavoy, Alta. who calls the snow “a significant blow.”

“When the snow hits and you take it down [to the ground] like this, you can imagine how much melting you have to do in order to get rid of that type of snow,” he said.

“If we were to get a good week of no precipitation, sunshine, warm weather, we have the opportunity to get out there and take the rest of the harvest. But it’s not looking good right now. We’re going to need to have at least two, maybe three weeks of dry weather.”

Sanford said the snow is making an already difficult year – due to rain and hail – even more difficult.

“It’s disheartening.”

“We really had our hopes up,” he said. “Now we have to be realistic with what’s been dealt to us.”

Deryk Sanford said his family farm has, historically, never left a single field out for the winter.

Deryk Sanford said his family farm has, historically, never left a single field out for the winter.

Sanford said he still has approximately one-third of his crops in the field and a delay in this year’s harvest will have ripple effects on next year and the years to come.

“The quantity we’re going to produce is still up in the air. If we were to not be able to harvest this year’s crop, it impacts our 2017 production right at the beginning of the season,” he said.

“We still have to deal with the crop that’s left out there. Even if the yield, the quantity and the quality is reduced, we still have to deal with all the straw.

“If we start up in May and we have to combine for the first couple of weeks, that’s going to push back our seeding, which could affect our next year’s crop quality. There’s only so much window to plant, to grow and to harvest your crop. There’s only so many changes we can make to deal with the ramifications of what we can’t do this year.”

Vegreville farmer Jacqueline Laniuk is also hurting from the snow. She still has 50 per cent of her crops to harvest.

Canola crops at Jacqueline Laniuk’s farm in Vegreville have been flattened by the snow.

Canola crops at Jacqueline Laniuk’s farm in Vegreville have been flattened by the snow.

“The density is what is so damaging to all of the crops,” she said.

“Would we still want to and be able to salvage what we can off of this? Absolutely. Will we be able to achieve the yields that we would have three, four days ago? No and very questionable to the quality as well.”

Laniuk said the ripple effect of the early snowfall should be concerning to all Albertans and is reaching out to all levels of government.

“We all need food to exist. It’s part of our food industry. It’s part of a supply and need that goes on. This will affect every part of the industry.”


Comment by Howard on October 19, 2016 at 2:50am

A Decade of Crop Loss from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti (Oct 14)

As Hurricane Matthew roared across southwestern Haiti, Joselien Jean-Baptiste huddled with his family while the wind whipped at his little house. When it was finally safe to venture outside at dawn the 60-year-old farmer realized his troubles had only just begun.

The storm knocked down part the house where he lives with his wife and six children outside of Les Cayes, leaving only a small section of corrugated metal still intact. But that was the least of his problems. The field he had worked for 25 years was a scene of violent upheaval. His rice was swamped with river water; the mango and breadfruit trees were split like matchsticks; his corn flattened or torn from the ground by fierce winds.

"It is going to take us a long, long time to get back on our feet," Jean-Baptiste said.

Haitian and international agricultural officials say it could be a decade or more before the southwestern peninsula recovers economically from Hurricane Matthew, which struck hard at the rugged region of more than 1 million people that is almost completely dependent on farming and fishing.

The Civil Protection agency said Friday that the death toll from Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall here on Oct. 4, had risen to 546, though it was likely to climb higher as reports continued to trickle in from remote areas. Likewise, the statistics about economic losses are still approximate, but appear to be catastrophic.

In the Grand-Anse region, nearly 100 percent of crops and 50 percent of livestock were destroyed, according to the World Food Program. On the outskirts of Les Cayes, where Jean-Baptiste lives, more than 90 percent of crops were lost and the fishing industry was "paralyzed" as material and equipment washed away, the organization said.

Re-planting vegetable crops can be done relatively quickly and rice fields begin to recover as floodwaters recede, but the loss of mature fruit trees that families nurtured for a generation is a staggering blow. "It will take at least 10 years for nature to do what it needs to do to grow the trees back," said Elancie Moise, an agronomist and senior agriculture ministry official in the south.

Grapefruit, fig and avocado trees were wiped out along with important root crops such as yams, which were inundated with water or damaged by the whipping wind, Moise said. Vetiver, a grass that is used to produce fragrances and is an important export for Haiti, appears to have sustained some root damage but may be one of the few crops to make it, he added.

There are widespread reports of rising prices in the outdoor markets that line the region's rural roads and of people struggling to find food. "Already there are some people, if you ask them what they ate for dinner last night, they won't be able to answer you," Moise said.

This is a region that only recently began recovering from a drought that had decreased crop production by half. Now, farmers like Jean-Baptiste are wading through the ankle-deep water in their rice fields desperately searching for stalks that may have survived and can still be sold. Many have nothing to salvage. Trees such as bread fruit and coconut palms can't even be sold for charcoal because the wood isn't suitable. People are also trying to save what fruit they can, but most wasn't yet ripe.

"It took a long time for these trees to get strong and now all my coffee has been lost. Our plantains and vegetables, everything is gone," said Rico Lifete, who works a small plot in the craggy mountains outside the coastal city of Jeremie and managed to save his dozen chickens by keeping them inside his stone-and-stucco shack with his family.

Haiti as a whole is largely deforested, with an estimated 2 percent of its original forest cover left because of decades of misuse of the land and the cutting of trees to make charcoal for cooking. But this western peninsula that juts out along the Caribbean Sea had been comparatively lush. It includes the cloud-shrouded mountains of Pic Macaya National Park, which was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2016. Until Hurricane Matthew, the narrow roads along the coast were shaded by soaring rows of palms.

Now, it looks like the whole place has been put through a blender. The palms, those that haven't crashed through the roofs of houses and churches, look like they were given a bad haircut, crudely hacked away at the top. The breadfruit and mango trees behind the home of Oscar Corentin, in a village west of Les Cayes, were a tangle of fallen limbs and bare branches.

Corentin and his extended family inherited this piece of land from his mother, and the trees were there when he was born. Asked how old he is, the wiry, bare-chested farmer, who looks to be in his 60s, dismissively waves a machete, saying "I've lost count." His younger cousin says she is 64. The fruit sustained dozens of people, including his seven grandchildren and her 12. "I lost everything," he said. "Please show the world what is going on."

The effects are being felt not only by the farmers who rely on their marginal farmland to eke out a living, but also in the street markets far from the worst-hit districts. Farmers such as Celeo Marcelin have been combing through their remaining crops trying to find anything to salvage for sale, and not finding much. "There's nothing left," he said.

International aid groups say the widespread crop damage will require an influx of seed packs for replanting once the immediate needs of emergency water, food and medicine are met.

"We are aware that it will be more effective to distribute seeds to farmers timed with their next planting season, in early 2017, ideally with fertilizer or compost to help replenish the soil which has been flooded in saltwater," said Jean-Claude Fignole, a senior Oxfam official in Haiti.

A "flash appeal" for Haiti issued by the U.N. humanitarian agency in Geneva was not getting anywhere near the level of support officials are seeking, with only about 5 percent pledged so far of the $120 million requested. The lack of immediate help has caused frustration, with some people in the village where Jean-Baptiste lives just east of Les Cayes trying to force an aid truck to stop and clashing with peacekeepers on a recent afternoon.

"Everything is gone here," he said, "people are going to just leave."



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